Sports Illustrated honored Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as their "Sportsman of the Year" at an awards dinner on Thursday — and Sports Illustrated Kids paid tribute to Manning in their own way, recruiting galactic funk pioneer (and Broncos fan) Bootsy Collins to create the video "Peyton Manning's Passing Your Way."
Dressed in a shiny red leather suit and top-hat, trademark star-shaped sunglasses, and a white-and-silver bass guitar with green strings, Bootsy lays down the funk to the tune of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," but alters the lyrics to honor the mighty Manning.
"Hey all you kids out there, ho-dee-ho-ho and a touchdown throw!" he begins. Then Collins starts to half-rap, half-sing a warning to anyone opposing Manning on the field: "He knows if you’ll blitz/ He sees if it's zone/ He knows if it's man/ You’ll wanna go home/ Peyton Manning’s passing your way."
Occasionally, Collins thumbs a string; fingers decorated with shiny skull rings. But most of the time he's shaking his thang and mugging for the camera, wearing a Jewish Star of David necklace as only a true genre-bender can pull off.
Then the stop-action animated football toys come in. Dressed in Broncos uniforms, the action figures storm past an opposing team thanks to Manning's immaculate passing skills; do a Rockettes-style line dance; and hoist Manning on their shoulders ... sending the Broncos into the holiday season with spirits bright.
Manning hasn't commented on the Bootsy vid yet, but in his Sportsman of the Year acceptance speech Monday night he was both graceful and gracious: "I'm here tonight to receive an honor that I do not think I deserve, but I gratefully and humbly accept," he said. "To Sports Illustrated, you truly are an institution. You have been a part of my life since I was a kid."
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- Bootsy Collins